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Bath lights up the town Friday

BATH — Bath will light up the town for the holidays and the public is invited to take part in the festivities on Friday.

At 6 p.m., residents and visitors will gather at the intersection of Carteret and South Main streets for caroling, refreshments, a reading of the classic Christmas tale “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” and a visit from the Jolly Old Elf himself. Bath’s annual Christmas parade follows on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tuesday morning, members of the Historic Bath Garden Club decorated the site for the coming festivities, a long-time partnership between the club and the town.

“It’s the garden club’s gift to the Town of Bath to start off the Christmas season — the most wonderful time of the year,” said Mary Ann Adam, co-president of the club.

One major change to this year’s event is the tree that will be lit. The holly tree on the site had ceased to thrive and was replaced two weeks ago with an arborvitae thuja, an evergreen shrub known for its rich green foliage, even through the winter months. The thuja, also known as “Little Giant,” was decorated with colored, eco-friendly mini-lights and bright ornaments, but the garden club’s work in Bath is not nearly over.

“This is the beginning of the garden club’s responsibilities,” said LaRue Chuman. “Next it’s preparing all the houses.”

ORNAMENTAL: The Historic Bath Garden Club have been decorating the town tree at the corner of Carteret and South Main streets, for as long as any of its members can remember. Pictured are (left to right) Van Kozelka, Anne Mears, Linda Betham, LaRue Chuman and Mary Ann Adam. (Vail Stewart Rumley/Daily News)

Garden club members will gather this weekend to begin piecing together all the live wreaths, swags and centerpieces that will decorate the Palmer-Marsh House and the Bonner House in anticipation of the annual open house held by Historic Bath State Historic Site. On Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both historic homes will be open to the public to experience Christmas of the past, including cooking demonstrations in the Bonner House kitchen.

For a $2 charge that evening, a candlelight tour of the Palmer-Marsh House offers an eye into the clothing, refreshments, dancing, harpsichord music and conversation that could be found at a pre-Revolutionary War holiday gathering.

“It’ll give people a bit of an idea of what it was like at Christmas before the Revolutionary War, the tension between the loyalists and patriots,” said A.J. Drake, the historic site’s historic interpreter. “It’s set a few years before the Revolutionary War started out and there probably would have been a lot of debate about that.”

For more information, visit the Historic Bath State Historic Site’s Facebook page.